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Ruppersberger Provides Direction for New Funds to Help Cities Prevent Ransomware Attacks

Jun 11, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger today guided new federal funding to help U.S. cities prevent cyberattacks like the recent ransomware attack in Baltimore. The House Appropriations Committee adopted a $10 million increase for this purpose in the annual funding bill for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that now goes before the full House of Representatives for a final vote.

The bill includes $25 million total for cybersecurity advisors employed by the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which are assigned to regions throughout the United States and are tasked with helping states, cities and other municipalities better understand risks to their computer networks and providing protection services that can mitigate those risks. The bill specifically cites the recent ransomware attacks in Baltimore, Atlanta and elsewhere across the country.

“It’s the federal government’s role to partner with municipal governments – who often face competing priorities and scarce resources – to improve their cyber defenses,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “We don’t have a silver bullet, but we can give state and local governments access to better-funded federal resources. This critical funding will help states and cities like Baltimore identify and fill holes in their IT infrastructure, preventing future cyber attacks.” 

The City of Baltimore was hit by a ransomware attack on May 7 and budget officials estimate recovery could cost more than $18 million, including lost or deferred revenue. A separate ransomware attack in March 2018 temporarily disabled Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system. The attacks are part of a growing nationwide trend – in fact, there have been 24 public-sector ransomware attacks so far this year alone, according to cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

In all, the Homeland Security funding bill for fiscal year 2020 provides $63.8 billion for efforts border security, cybersecurity and emergency management. It allocates $2 billion for CISA, which is a 25 percent increase from President Trump’s budget request.